Stephen De Tancy, an early settler in this region, used to relate, in his lifetime, that a white family was captured by a party of Indians in what is now Indiana county, before the Indian troubles were allayed. A party of whites, having pursued, overtook them near the head of the third run west of the Indiana county line which empties into the "Little Cowanshannock creek," near the present site of the Dunkard church. The point where those hostile parties met and where, in the encounter between them three Indians were killed and the white captives recaptured, was probably in the northern part of this Le Roy & Co. tract, about 230 rods south of the present site of the Barnard postoffice.
Adjoining the last-mentioned tract on the north and west was the Samuel Bryan one, warrant No. 679, of which John Hannegan was first assessed with 165 acres in 1823; Samuel Scott with 100 acres in 1834; David McPherson with 107 acres in 1838, who afterward conveyed it to George O. Barnard; William McIntire with 100 acres in 1837. This tract became vested in Samuel F., William H. and John C. Smith and Lewis R. Phillips and their wives, to whom the patent therefor was granted January 18, 1838. They by their attorney-in-fact conveyed 50 acres and 119 perches of it, July 25, 1839, to John Hays for $200, and 66 acres, January 2, 1843, to George A. Barnard for $150, on which is the public schoolhouse, and on which also is his residence, where for several years he kept a hotel. This point has been known for thirty or more years past as "Barnard’s." It is on the public road, formerly a turnpike. Extending from Kittanning to Smicksburgh, James Patrick was first assessed with 125 acres in 1841, and John McFarland with a brickyard in 1842. The territory embraced within the Samuel Bryan tract is traversed by the Cowanshannock creek, the major portion of it being on the northwest side.
On the north and east of the last-mentioned tract was the LeRoy & Co. No. 3095. Its territory now lies in this and Wayne townships and Indiana county. James Kirkpatrick settled on it as early as, if not earlier than, 1800. On or about September 20, 1807, that pioneer settler, mounted on one of his four horses, might have been seen wending his way along paths through the dense forest, across Crooked creek and the Kiskiminetas, to Greensburgh. Why? It had been advertised in October, 1806, in certain papers published in Philadelphia and Greensburgh, that the tract on which he had made his home would be sold, as the law then provided, by the sheriff of Westmoreland county, unless the county taxes assessed thereon for the years 1798, 1800, 1802, 1804, 1805, and the road taxes for 1803-4-5 should be paid within three months from the date of the advertisements. On September 24, 1807, that entire tract, containing 847 !/2 acres, wa sold by John Sloan, sheriff, for unpaid taxes, aggregating $9.43, to James Kirkpatrick for $44, he having been the highest and best bidder. He conveyed 158 ¼ acres of it to Moses Kirkpatrick, June 30, 1829, for $100; another portion to John Simpson and his wife about the same time and agreed to sell another portion off the east end to Thomas Haughenberry and his wife. He conveyed the rest of the tract, November 30, 1829, to David Kirkpatrick. The grantor and his wife Mary, as mentioned in the deed, were then aged, infirm and incapable of providing for their worldly maintenance. So, by their own choice and for the great love and affection which they had for their son, David, and for his past kindness to and affection for them, and for the further consideration that he should bind himself to provide for them sufficient maintenance and such comforts as they were entitled to during the natural life of each of them, they invested him with all their right, title and interest therein. Whatever interest he thus acquired has descended to his linear heirs. On the map of original tracts appears a smaller tract, carved out of that larger one, on both sides of the Cowanshannock, containing 100 acres and 77 perches, the larger portion of which is now in Indiana county, and bearing the name of James Kirkpatrick, which is probably the quantity he reclaimed and cultivated. The Barnard’s postoffice, in the western part of this smaller tract, was established July 11, 1861- its first and present postmaster being John T. Kirkpatrick who was first assessed as a merchant at that point in 1858. David Kirkpatrick built a gristmill on tract No. 3095 in 1837, which he conveyed to George A. Barnard in 1845-6.
Next west of the two last-mentioned original tracts was the Hiltzimer, No. 5146, included in the Brodhead purchase and devise, noticed in the sketch of Wayne township. John Rutherford must have settled on this tract in 1819, as he was first assessed with 150 acres of it in 1820; from 1823 until 1834, with 200 acres. Jacob Peelor was first assessed with 300 acres of it in 1826, to whom Rebecca J. Johnston conveyed the same, January 17, 1828. He conveyed, December 12, 1832, the tract which he had thus purchased, containing 323 acres and 54 perches, to John Rutherford for $533.50. In this last deed it is described as "beginning at a white-oak corner in the line of Samuel Bryan," west 120 perches, and on which Rutherford was then living. Rutherford conveyed 38 acres of it, May 21, 1833, to James Mc Farland, who conveyed the same , March 14, 1835, to James Brice for $100. Rutherford agreed with his son James to convey to him 60 acres and 14 perches thereof, on which the latter then lived, for $152.75, but died without executing the deed therefor, which his executors did, April 21, 1835, by virtue of a decree granted by the court of common pleas of this county, for the specific performance of that agreement, and which James Rutherford, conveyed to James Brice, April 30, 1835, for $167.75. Brice conveyed these two last-mentioned tracts, aggregating 99 acres and 14 perches mor or less, to Jacob Lias, May 11, 1853, for $800, on one or the other of which he has within the last few years made several fish-ponds, which are situated in the forks of the two branches forming the fifth northern tributary to the Cowanshannock west of the Indiana county line. Pond No. 1 is 20x20 feet; No. 2 is 24x44 feet; No. 3 is 20x24 feet. Each pond is supplied from a spring of pure cold water. They are well arranged, and contain about 5,000 trout and perch, which are in a thriving condition. Lias obtained his first stock from Seth Green & Co.
The Cowanshannock portion of this Hiltzimer tract will be otherwise recognized as that of portions of which William J. Burns, William T. Burns, S. Cassiday, D. Whitacre and J. Borland are present owners, and on which Hugh Rutherford commenced his trade as a tailor in 1837.
George Roberts, of Philadelphia, merchant, in or about February, 1795, purchased twelve original tracts the territory of which is now within the limits of this section of this township, aggregation, according to the original surveys, 3404 ¾ acres, patents for which were granted to him March 28, the same year, which, with other tracts elsewhere in this and in other counties, by his will dated December 13, 1800, he divised to his sons George and Hugh Roberts and three others of his lineal heirs. Among the latter was Elizabeth F. Roberts, whose share, or undivided one-fifth part, of those lands then unsold, and one-fifth part of all the purchase money then remaining due and unpaid, she conveyed April 25, 1836, to her nephew, George Roberts Smith, in consideration of natural love and affection and the sum of $1. Those and other tracts are designated in her father’s will as "unimproved and back lands."
The following tracts are included in the Roberts purchase:
The John Denniston tract, No. 3830, called "Abington," which contained, according to the original survey, 170 ½ acres. William and John McFarland were first assessed with portions of it in 1838. They had probably settled on it in 1836 or 1837.
The John Sloan tract, No. 5639, called "Stanton," 226 ½ acres, with a protion of which Peter Brown was first assessed in 1822-3.
The Roberts heirs conveyed parts of these two last-mentioned tracts, containing 201 acres and 46 perches, to James Cunningham June 17, 1837, for $362.
The John Denniston tract, No. 3829, called "Dublin," 180 ¾ acres, with 180 ¼ acres of which William Abercrombie was first assessed in 1834, and John Gallagher, with 50 acres, in 1838. This entire tract was conveyed by those heirs to William Patterson, April 16, 1838, for $285.
The Joseph Cook tract, No. 5637, called "The Grove," 383 acres with 80 acres of which Richard Crim and Thomas Duke were each first assessed in 1836. Ninety-three acres and 139 perches of it were conveyed by those heirs to Samuel Patterson, April 16, 1836, for $125, and on October 30, 1839, 80 acres and 112 perches to Richard Crim for $161, and 205 acres and 80 perches to William McFarland for $411.
The Joseph Cook tract, No. 5636, called "Wheatfield, " 447 ¾ acres, with 184 acres of which Robert Stoops was first assessed in 1833. The Roberts heirs conveyed 164 acres of this tract to Allen Foster, April 16, 1836, for $328, and 183 acres and 100 perches to John Simpson, November 24, 1838, for $367.
The Aaron Wor tract, No. 5483, 447 acres, with 108 acres of which Stewart Fitzgerald was first assessed in 1831, and Robert Adams with 97 acres in 1837. The Robertses conveyed 320 acres off the west end of it to James Simpson, Noveumber 20, 1830, for $640, and 128 acres and 26 perches to Isaac Simpson, December 19, 1834, for $288.97.
The John Craig tract, No. 3652, called "Leeds," 245 acres of which Alexander Foster purchased May 24, 1828, for $612.50. Craig’s run traverses it in a southerly course nearly through, al little west of, the center.
The John Denniston tract, No. 3618, 309 acres, with which Robert McElwain was first assessed in 1828, and with the Robertses had conveyed to him January 30, 1827, for $675. He conveyed the same as containing 401 acres and 109 perches to Samuel R. Ramage, April 3, 1836, for $4,000, which he conveyed January 20 and 28, 1848, and April 4 and 10, 1850, to Alexander and James Dixon, John Walker, William Dill and John McCouch, as containing 423 acres and 53 perches for $5,056.82. John McCouch conveyed the 150 acres which he had purchased to John McCauley, March 31, 1857, for $3,000, or at an advance of $750 since April 10, 1850.
The William Denniston tract, No. 3620, called "Hopewell," 220 acres, on which William and Thomas McElhinney settled in 1830. It was conveyed to them by the Robertses May 12 of that year for $450. The first store within the limits of this township was opened by them on this tract in 1831. They were assessed for the first time as merchants in 1832, and the last time as such in 1833. They probably kept that store open about three years. William McElhinney conveyed his undivided half, except 20 acres therefrom sold to Archibald McGaughey, to James McElhinnney for $220, and James and Thomas McElhinney conveyed their interests to Rev. Bryan B. Killikelly, September 23 and 27, 1844, for $1,537, who conveyed the entire tract, 221 acres, to William and Joshua Hall, February 1, 1865, for $1,779.20.
The John Denniston tract, No. 3622, called "Deerry" - probably a clerical error for Derry- 239 acres, with 120 acres of which Andrew Stewart was first assessed , and James McGaughey with 80 acres, in 1835. The Robertses conveyed the whole tract as containing 280 acres and 21 perches to James McGaughey, April 16, 1836, for $490.21.
The Samuel Denniston tract, No. 3621, called "Alexandria," 255 ½ acres, with 190 of which William McGaughey was first assessed in 1838. W. Hall and J. Peoples are present owners of portions of it.
The William Findley tract, No. 5638, called "Fidelity," 100 acres, on which John McAlfoos settled in 1834, to whom the Robertses conveyed 120 acres and 134 perches, December 23, 1836, for $188.50; to Samuel Patterson, April 16, 1836, 55 acres and 54 perches, for $101.37, and December 23, 106 acres and 114 perches for $50; of which Peter Brown purchased 50 acres and 32 perches April 20, 1837, for $225, on which Peter Brown, Jr., was first assessed with a tannery in 1862, which is still in operation.
The Findley lands, besides the last-mentioned tract, which Findley conveyed to Roberts, consisted of the four following:
The William Findley tract, No. 751, called "Williamsburgh," 409 acres and 140 perches, bordering on the purchase line and Valley township, 313 acres of which were first assessed to Daniel River in1828, and 311 acres to James Elgin in 1831. The patent to Findley for this tract is dated May 27, 1796. By his will, dated March 20, 1820, he devised this and other tracts to his children- John Findley, Elizabeth Patterson, Eleanor Caruthers and Mary Black. John Findley was authorized, February 1, 1828, by all parties in interest, except Elizabeth Patterson, who appointed her son, Findley Patterson, to divide and convey these lands, and, on the 7th of March, all the devisees released the undivided one-fourth part to one another. John Findley, May 25, 1830, conveyed 311 acres of "Williamsburgh" to James Elgin for $900, who by his will, dated January 2, 1834, devised it to his son, Samuel Elgin, in whose possession the major part of it still (1876) remains. Huskins run empties into the Cowanshannock on the south side at or near the center of "Williamsburgh", about fifty rods slightly east of south from Samuel Elgin’s residence. There is a tradition respecting John Huskins, who, it is said, gave this stream its early name, which, the writer thinks, is a mixture of truth and error. It is traditionally related that he was employed by Penn’s agents to aid in making treaties with the Indians; that the condition of one treaty was that the Penns were to have as much land as a man could walk over between sunrise and sunset, starting from a point on the west branch of the Susquehanna, formerly called Canoe Place, now Cherry Tree, and proceeding westward; that Huskins, having the reputation of being a great walker, was employed for that purpose’ that, with Indian guides to halt him at the proper time, he started for the above-mentioned point on the Susquehanna at sunrise on a certain day, and , having passed over hills and valleys along the purchase line, and having arrived at that part of "Williamsburgh" near the Boyer’s sawmill, he and the Indians collected, through the night, a quantity of stones and piled them up around a tree, some of which are still there; that the Indians, being wearied, exclaimed, "White man, big walk!" and that on the next morning Huskins went to that stream and christened it "Huskins run." When that event occurred is not known. One thread of error woven into the web of that tradition is, that the quantity of territory between the Susquehanna and the Allegheny was to be ascertained by a day’s walk, for the boundary line of the purchase of 1768 between these two rivers was agreed upon and clearly defined in the treaty made oat Fort Stanwix.8 "Huskins run" is mentioned in the report of the viewers who laid out Plum Creek township in 1809, to designate a point in its western boundary line. The name of this run is, then, quite ancient, and it is probable that John Huskin originated it. He may, perhaps, have accompanied the surveyor who ran the purchase line, or he may have traversed this region at a later period. However that may be, the narrators of his expedition have, at one time or another, confounded the walking purchase9 of 1737 with the later one of 1768. Another probable thread of error in that web is, that the walk from one to the other of the above-mentioned points was a "big" one for hearty foresters of those times, who were thoroughly accustomed to traveling on foot, the distance between these points being about thirty miles.
The William Findley tracts, Nos. 3833, 197 ¾ acres, and No. 3658, 100 acres, contiguous to each other, the former lying between "Williamsburgh" and the latter, No. 3658, was probably first occupied by Daniel in 1825, he having been first assessed with it in 1826. Thomas Patterson, a son-in-law of William Findley, was first assessed, in 1830, with 340 acres, as of No. 3833, but of course included portions of one or more other Findley tracts. His sons, John and Findley Patterson, were jointly assessed the next year with the same, and the latter as a merchant, and thereafter separately, the former with 125, and the latter with 200 acres, until 1834; in 1835, John was assessed with 345 acres of the McClenechan tract, No. 515, and the next year with the same and 75 acres of No. 3658.
John Patterson settled on No. 3833 in 1829, and gave the name of Rural valley to that part of the Cowanshannock valley east of Laurel Grove, formerly called the Narrows, but now Greendale. He resided there until his removal to the portion of the Pickering & Co. tract, No. 11, which he purchased, as hereinafter mentioned, in 1836. The Rural Valley postoffice was established May 19, 1830, and he was its first postmaster, keeping the office at his residence.
Findley Patterson moved farther down the Cowanshannock in 1834-5. Ebenezer Smith, of Cross Creek township, Washington county, Pennsylvania, soon thereafter became the purchaser of a considerable body of these Findley lands, it having been represented to him that the erection of a gristmill and other improvements in their vicinity would induce those in quest of new homes to settle in this part of this beautiful valley. Thomas and Elizabeth Patterson, by Findley Patterson, their attorney-in-fact, conveyed to him 88 acres and 99 perches of No. 3658, March 30, 1835, for $1,070; and John Patterson conveyed to him 156 acres and 84 perches of tract No. 3833, May 23, the same year, for $1,500, making a total of 245 acres and 23 perches, which had been allotted to Thomas and Elizabeth Patterson in the above-mentioned partition. Smith settled thereon in 1837, and lived in the house on No. 3833 theretofore occupied by John Patterson. He purchased, February 25, 1843, 29 acres of " Williamburgh" from Samuel Elgin, for $125. He sold about eight acres of the latter to John Boyer, February 5, 1843, for $8, and 125 acres and 11 perches of No. 3833 to Samuel Elgin, February 19, 1848, for $800, for two days before which he had conveyed 246 acres and 19 perches to Robert McFarland for $5,045, and removed thence to McKeesport, Allegheny county. That farm is designated in Rogers’ Geology of Pennsylvania as the " Smith tract." ( Vide sketch of Elderton.)
John Findley had dedicated two acres of tract No. 3833, adjoining "Williamsburgh," prior to Smith’s purchase, for a site for a schoolhouse, common burying-ground and a meeting-house, or meeting-houses, and conveyed the same, November 27, 1836, to William McKean, Robert McIntosh, James Elgin and Findley Patterson, in trust for those purposes, giving an equal right to the Presbyterians of the General Assembly church, the Associate Reformed or the Associate church to build, if they so wished, their respective houses of worship thereon, granting to the congregation that should first do so full liberty to choose the site, provided that they should do so in such manner as would not render it impracticable for either of the other denominations to erect their church edifice thereon. His grant was qualified by the restriction that those two acres should not be sold for or dedicated to any other purposes than those above mentioned.10
The Robert McClenechan tract, No. 515, drawn by lottery, 328 ¾ acres, the warrant for which was granted to McClenechan, of Chester county, Pennsylvania, May 19, 1785, and the patent August 17, 1787. He conveyed this entire tract, March 15, 1796, to William Findley. In the partition between the latter’s heirs it was allotted to his daughter Eleanor Caruthers, and it was first assessed to her husband, Richard E. Caruthers, in 1830, 100 acres and 116 perches of which they conveyed to William F. Caruthers, January 6, 1842, for $1.
The northern tributaries of the Cowanshannock in this part of the township are: Elgin’s run, traversing " Williamsburgh," so named by James Elgin, who first traced it from its mouth to its head: Hill’s run, traversing tract No. 3833 so called because it rises in and flows through at least a part of the Hill settlement north of that tact; Rose run, traversing tract No. 3658, so called because of the great quantities of wild roses that erst fringed its banks.
Source: Page(s) 286-309, History of Armstrong County, Pennsylvania by Robert Walker Smith, Esq. Chicago: Waterman, Watkins & Co., 1883.
Transcribed December 1999 by Pamela Clark for the Armstrong County Smith Project.
Contributed by Pamela Clark for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/armstrong/)
Armstrong County Genealogy Project Notice:
These electronic pages cannot be reproduced in any format, for any presentation, without prior written permission.
Return to the Chapter 13 Index
Return to the Historical Index
Return to the Smith Project
Return to the Armstrong County Genealogy Project
(c) Armstrong County Genealogy Project
Return to the Armstrong County Genealogy Project
(c) Armstrong County Genealogy Project